Warning: Rambling post, very tedious. Don’t operate heavy equipment for two hours after reading this post.
I grew up in a big, brick house in Northern Wisconsin. Our beautiful home hid our desperate poverty, and it was quite difficult. My father and mother scraped by enough each week to feed and clothe us. But just barely. Mom would take some elbow macaroni, and mix it with stewed tomatoes (from a dwindling supply she tried to manage.)
I was oblivious to our precarious situation. I carried a plain peanut butter sandwich to school for years, but I had a simple dream of getting “hot lunch.” I was tired of peanut butter, as I watched all the other kids eat pizza, hamburgers and (my fav. mashed potatoes with a pat of butter.) I ate PB for several years. You could stucco a house with what I ate.
I wasn’t really settled in my heart or thinking. I developed into a bipolar childhood that had quite a bit of depression, and a load of impulsivity. I was an impossible child, and I was out-of-control. I was either terribly manic or profoundly depressed. My Mom and Dad simply didn’t know or grasp my mental illness and how it was effecting me.
A repeated nightmare worked its claws into my thinking. I would wake up sobbing, almost inconsolable. I had this dream several times in my teens, and can still 40 years later taste the panic. In this dream, I would be lifted up and laid on a slow conveyor belt. I would be on my back, and I would see over my feet a giant roller. This roller had big nobs on it and it was rolling over what the conveyor belt brought to it. In this dream I was paralyzed, unable to escape this giant crushing roller. I kept fighting, and trying to escape. But, I was completely frozen.
I would waken just as my feet met the roller. The fear I had was as intense as any I ever had. (Except when I had to go down to the basement, but that was more reasonable.) I would repeat this dream several times, and it was always the same. I haven’t had this dream for 30 years or more, but it still has a potency and fear to make me edgy.
Over the many years I have thought about this. I certainly don’t want to mysticize it, or try to force an interpretation out of it. But it has struck me as a metaphor of my life to some degree. In this dream I was moving toward an inevitable crushing. The paralyzing panic was a fair description of where I was at spiritually.
This explanation may sound childish and simplistic. But it is so workable, and brings a certain comprehension to these terrible moments of fear. And our dreams, well, they are funny things. All of us, somehow, and in some strange fashion are treated to a surrealistic and fantastical mini-story as we sleep. But what does it mean?
Much of the time, upon awakening, we try to piece together both the chronology and the meaning of what we had just dreamed. It’s hard to do, most of the time it justs slips away. Yet, our inner heart always wonders if that particular dream was “good, bad or ugly.” There are rare times when we can grab on a sequence of events, and relay it to a close friend.
Some things will never be revealed in this lifetime. But I believe there are certain things in our dreams that the Holy Spirit chooses to bring to light. We are never sanctioned to seek the meaning of our dreams, but only the Lord Himself. We should never lean on our understanding, but on our Father and His Word.
P.S. I realize in writing this, I don’t like peanut butter at all.